By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Colombo High Court, in an intellectual property case, issued an interim order against Colombo Courtyard Ltd. preventing it from using the registered trademark ‘Courtyard’ belonging to a leading international hotel chain.
High Court Judge Mahinda Samayawardhena granted an interim injunction in favour of Marriott International Inc and Marriott Worldwide Corporation of Untied States of America (defendants) against Colombo Courtyard Ltd. (plaintiff).
Colombo Courtyard Ltd. was represented by Dr. Harsha Cabral PC, with Kushan Illangatilleke, Nishan Premathiratne and Janith Fernando instructed by Nithi Murugesu Associates also appearing for the plaintiff.
Romesh de Silva PC, with N. R. Sivendran, Shanaka Cooray, Renuka Udamulla, Vasanthakumar Niles and Maithreyi Rajasingam, instructed by Neelakandan & Neelakand, appeared for the defendants.
Marriott has been using the trademark Courtyard since 1983 and operates approximately 1,066 hotels in over 45 countries worldwide. Marriott became the largest hotel chain in the world after acquiring Starwood Hotels last year.
The plaintiff sought an interim injunction preventing the defendants from interfering with the use by the plaintiff of the Colombo Courtyard mark in respect of hotel services.
The plaintiff claimed that the said use of the trademark was not an infringement of the defendants’ marks Courtyard and Courtyard Marriott for the same hotel services.
Court observed that the Director General of Intellectual Property refused registration of the plaintiff’s mark Colombo Courtyard for hotel services as it was similar to the defendants’ registered mark Courtyard for the same services.
The defendants sought an interim injunction preventing the plaintiff from using the defendants’ registered trademark Courtyard until the determination of the action.